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The Gravity Probe B `Niobium bird' experiment: Verifying the data reduction scheme for estimating the relativistic precession of Earth-orbiting gyroscopesGravity Probe B (GP-B) is a relatively gyroscope experiment begun at Stanford University in 1960 and supported by NASA since 1963. This experiment will check, for the first time, the relativistic precession of an Earth-orbiting gyroscope that was predicted by Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, to an accuracy of 1 milliarcsecond per year or better. A drag-free satellite will carry four gyroscopes in a polar orbit to observe their relativistic precession. The primary sensor for measuring the direction of gyroscope spin axis is the SQUID (superconducting quantum interference device) magnetometer. The data reduction scheme designed for the GP-B program processes the signal from the SQUID magnetometer and estimates the relativistic precession rates. We formulated the data reduction scheme and designed the Niobium bird experiment to verify the performance of the data reduction scheme experimentally with an actual SQUID magnetometer within the test loop. This paper reports the results from the first phase of the Niobium bird experiment, which used a commercially available SQUID magnetometer as its primary sensor, and adresses the issues they raised. The first phase resulted in a large, temperature-dependent bias drift in the insensitive design and a temperature regulation scheme.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Uemaatsu, Hirohiko (Stanford Univ. Stanford, CA, US, United States)
Parkinson, Bradford W. (Stanford Univ. Stanford, CA, US, United States)
Lockhart, James M. (Stanford Univ. Stanford, CA, US, United States)
Muhlfelder, Barry (Stanford Univ. Stanford, CA, US, United States)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: In: Spaceflight mechanics, 1993; AAS(AIAA Spaceflight Mechanics Meeting, 3rd, Pasadena, CA, Feb. 22-24, 1993, Parts 1 & 2 . A95-81344
ISSN: 0065-3438
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Funding Number(s)
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IDRelationTitle19950049745Analytic PrimarySpaceflight mechanics, 1993; AAS/AIAA Spaceflight Mechanics Meeting, 3rd, Pasadena, CA, Feb. 22-24, 1993, Parts 1 & 2